The Eden Project: Sequoias in England

I want to make a pause in our travels to talk you about this exciting news: as if it were a living library, a total of forty coastal redwoods have been planted in Cornwall, a region southwest of England as a part of the Eden Project – an environmental complex inspired by nature and sustainable development.

This will be the first time that a “forest” of this species of gigantic-sized trees from North America will grow in Great Britain. It is expected that by 2050 these species will have already risen to 25 meters high and will not stop doing so in later years, leaving a legacy of one of the longest living beings that inhabit the planet.

As we know, coastal redwoods, better known as California redwoods, are the tallest living things on Earth and can growth of up to 115 meters high. And, on the other hand, they are also the most long-lived, since their life expectancy ranges between 2000 and 3000 years. However, many of them are being damaged by wood industry over the last 150 years at the same time as many other specimens that still inhabit the forests of California and Oregon are being seriously threatened due to droughts and fires.

The Eden project

The reason that brings these species to European soil is the so-called Eden project, a project carried out between Eden and Michigan-based Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA), designed to preserve trees for future generations.

Eden’s co-founder Tim Smit stated:

“This project will become a unique collection of the tallest living beings on Earth. Redwoods will remain in Eden for, we hope, for thousands of years to come. ”

From California to Cornwall

For the plantation, carried out by the experts of AATA, two kinds of cuttings were brought: some were from sequoia trees in life and another from stumps of large trees that had already been cut down. These were cloned to obtain new samples, and from there, they were sent to Cornwall.

Among the cloned specimens, 10 were stumps from a famous sequoia in northern California that had been cut down in 1890 and was already 3,500 years old. If it had not been cut down, it would probably have been the largest tree in the world today. And, among the missions of AATA, is to proliferate the most important centenary trees in the world before their disappearance, as well as to archive their genetics and reforest the Earth with their offspring.

Tree samples arrived in Cornwall a year ago and, since then; they have been growing until they have now become strong enough to be planted. This will be a space that will undoubtedly become a new natural point of reference for us and for centuries to come.

This how I became a tree hugger…

Continuing where we left in our previous post, today, we will talk about how you can visit some interesting places. With provisions ready, you can visit the Redwood National & State Parks, protected by Unesco, and its star attraction, easily accessible: Lady Bird Johnson Grove. The sagacious Californian conservationists gave this forest the name of the first lady in an attempt to protect the park from the voracity of the timber industry. And the treat worked: the park celebrates its 50th anniversary today and some of its tallest trees have grown 30 m since then. Cutting them down is unthinkable; hug them, something instinctive. Younger children curl up in the cribs that form the fallen logs, teenagers take selfies posing with the peace symbol, and entire families surround the huge sequoia trunks to take a picture together.

The Redwood Parks posters ask visitors to be careful when walking among these giants: the roots of the redwoods are not very deep, sometimes they are under a soft blanket of humus and plants. Redwoods reach 20 plants high, intertwining at the roots, forming a network of mutual support and underground communication that helps them withstand storms. Drought remains a problem for these titans, despite the recent rains: the legendary hippy marijuana crop of Humboldt County is now legal in California, and requires a lot of water. Luckily, illegal cultivation has been slowed under the tree canopy and conservation efforts are constant. Travelers can lend a hand supporting California businesses with the green badge and sustainable destinations of Lonely Planet (generally, marked in your map guides with a leaf icon).

Venerating the oldest

Some of the oldest sequoia trees have been discovered very recently, near the Oregon border, at the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parkin California. Hidden with the naked eye in front of the visitor center is a forest of ancient redwoods whose real age was recently calculated by carbon dating: they are over 2000 years old. After admiring these old girls, you should not miss the pile of redwoods near Stout Grove. In the most difficult years, the redwoods grow to stretches instead of in orderly rings; something that can be seen in the fallen trees of Stout Grove. It is good that when you return to the real world after forest therapy you must not forget the teaching of redwoods: even in difficult times it grows, although it cannot be measured in the usual way.

The Forest Offers Happiness, Peace and the Sweet Company of Nature

Hi, everyone is me again. Today we will be continuing talking about the special places that make so attractive the sequoia forests. For starters, urbanites that begin forest therapy can start with Muir Woods. Just an hour from San Francisco. In 1945, delegates from the then newly founded UN recalled Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Cathedral Grove, an accessible forest with adapted shuttles and the Main Loop Trail. That event was written for posterity in English and Braille: “Here, in this temple of peace, delegates will have a perspective and a sense of time that no other place in America like this forest can offer. Muir Woods is a cathedral, the pillars of which they have stood firm throughout most of the written history of mankind.”

As we said previously, to live a fully immersive experience you can go to Humboldt County to find the even difficult to locate in Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Women’s Grove.

It is not necessary to leave the twenties behind when leaving this forest inspired by the history of California; it is possible to stay in the majestic rustic shelter of the architect Julia Morgan, built at south of Women’s Grove in 1926. Reservations should be made well in advance for Mother’s Day or to stay in the old garages of Julia Morgan’s Redwood Grove House. Across the Eel River, the beautifully restored Benbow Inn has been a hiding place for Hollywood dating since 1926, with steak-based dinners in the cozy wooden-beamed dining room, dances with live music on the patio tiles in the light of the moon and crystal sherry decanters by the bed for flappers who wanted to have a last drink before bedtime.

Where to refill…

At the West of Benbow, hikers chase the rainbow along 40 km of rugged coastal routes to sunsets with sea lions from the Lost Coast; but forest therapy enthusiasts who don’t want to get wet should know that the King Range National Conservation Area of ​​the Lost Coast is the wettest area in California and that there are hardly any places to shelter in this remote reserve. To the north of King Range, the landscape gives way to the meadows that surround the picturesque village of Ferndale.

Here one finds the comforts that a diligent driver needed around 1890: Eel River Brewing’s local beer at The Palace Saloon, rooms with a fireplace and a couch at The Victorian Inn, lucky horseshoes at The Blacksmith Shop, and – if you lose your hat on the Lost Coast–, the Main Street Millinery headgear. Ferndale is the perfect postcard city of the Californian Far West, as evidenced by its entry into IMDB as a scene for Hollywood filming; but this remote place has managed to preserve its peaceful rural charm without exceeding the tourist or the cheesy. It’s a good idea to go through the butcher shop Ferndale Meat Co to buy some pastrami sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, or for Mario’s Lost Coast Café, for an adult grilled cheese, a vegetable sandwich with bread made with the flour that Mario himself grinds.

That would be all for now. In my next entries will be continuing to delve deeper into the redwood forest to keep discovering these amazing places for you to enjoy.

Looking for calm? Maybe you have to look for it on California´s Redwood

In California´s West Coast, the Art of de-stressing is something natural. Under the towering redwood canopy, it looks like that every breath allows us to start recovering the serenity, perspective and even lost hopes. The sight of this is astonishing for the traveler lacking green environments; since their ability to surprise is numb and they need to remind themselves the act of taking a deep breath.

Then we can start adventuring on these landscapes to nurture his body with the ancestral remedy to the modern ills. All of this is possible thanks to the “forest therapy”

Before continuing into the redwood…

In case you haven´t read my profile, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Regina Berry I´m a small-town girl from Perthshire, Scotland but I have fallen in love with the beautiful redwoods (sequoia Tree) that grows in the West Coast of America.

In this little entry, I want to talk about forest therapy. I know it looks like some invention from some Californian Hippies. But the truth is an official term coined by the Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Office. The Shirin-yoku (forest therapy) is the act of stroll in the forest breathing essential oils to restore the senses and that may strengthen the immune system. All of this is backed with scientific data. This practice draws inspiration from Shintoism, is promoted in major cities from Tokyo to London.

But how do I start with forest therapy?

To live this experience in the fullest you have to go into the heart of the redwood forest.  I was supposed to go to Humboldt County, driving for 4 hours to the north. There, you will find a panoramic stretch at 50 km. from the old US 101´s route. This beautiful place flanked by sequoias is known as the Avenue of the Giants. Along the route, there hand-painted posters to advertise to the travelers of curious point of interest in the highway: Hermit´s cabin in the thunder-struck tress, sequoias so big that you can travel through them in a car and grizzly bears carved with chainsaws in fallen sequoias’ stems. But the best destiny we´re looking for doesn´t have any signs and is, even more, harder to find in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park: I´m talking about the Women´s Grove.

The women from Humboldt managed to secure the support of the women´s organizations from California when this trench full of old-as-the-time-itself sequoias was threatened by the wood industry in 1923. More than 70.000 Californians women contribute with a single American dollar each to buy this forest, incorporate it to the Park and save these majestic redwoods for the posterity.

When you enter the spotted-by-shadows´ route in Women´s Grove you can feel the velvet moisture of the underwood together with steely conviction of the women who protected this place a century ago. This is one of my favorite places from the redwoods and one of the best to do your forest therapy. In the next entries, I will be talking more about all the things this beautiful place has to offer and how we can protect the redwood together, just like the Californian Women. Just remember: “The forest offers happiness, peace and the sweet company of nature.”

General Sherman Tree, the largest tree by volume on earth, 275 feet high.